In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) ordered a nationwide moratorium on residential evictions through June 30, 2021. With no ability to recover properties from non-paying tenants, landlords from across the nation filed numerous lawsuits against the moratorium. These lawsuits resulted in numerous defeats for the CDC and massive victories for landlords as they forge a path toward repossession.
While these lawsuits differ in the details, the same theme runs through them all: The CDC does not have the authority to halt evictions nationwide.
Texas Eviction Moratorium Lawsuit
In Texas, seven landlords brought a suit against the CDC claiming that the moratorium was an unconstitutional overreach exceeding the federal government’s powers. In Terkel v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 6:20-cv-00564 (E.D. Tex. Feb. 25, 2021) the District Court ruled that the CDC lacked constitutional authority to regulate private property rights.
Ohio Eviction Moratorium Lawsuit
In Ohio, an assortment of landlords and property owners came together to file suit against the CDC under similar grounds. In Skyworks, Ltd. v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 5:20-cv-2407 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 10, 2021), the District Court ruled that the CDC exceeded their authority to put a moratorium on residential evictions.
Washington, D.C. Eviction Moratorium Lawsuit
In the District of Columbia, an assortment of property owners and realtor trade associations filed suit against the CDC challenging the moratorium. In Alabama Assn. of Realtors v United States Dept of Health and Human Services, No. 1:20-cv-003377 (D.D.C. May 5, 2021), the District Court ruled that while CDC has comprehensive rulemaking powers, the moratorium on residential evictions surpassed their authority.
United States Court of Appeals Eviction Moratorium Ruling
Just recently the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied the CDC’s Motion to Stay a ruling made in Tennessee, which prevented the CDC from enforcing its ban pending appeal. In Tiger Lily, LLC v United States Dept. of Hous. and Urban Dev., 992 F3d 518, 520 (6th Cir 2021), the Sixth Circuit found that it was unwarranted to suggest that Congress gave the CDC the authority to insert itself into the landlord-tenant relationship when exerting its authority.
Current State of Evictions in New York
In New York, while the CDC nationwide moratorium on residential evictions has yet to be overturned, the state legislature has added additional roadblocks for landlords. On May 4, 2021, Governor Cuomo extended the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. This extension acts to prolong the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions until August 31, 2021 for tenants who have suffered a COVID-related hardship.
Have Questions About the Eviction Moratorium for New York Residents?
Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC continues to monitor this ever-changing landscape. For additional questions regarding the implications of these decisions and related landlord/tenant issues, we invite you to contact Clair Gjertsen & Weathers PLLC by calling 914-472-6202. We look forward to hearing from you.